Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Bill Gates commits $100 million to help fight Alzheimer's

Bill Gates commits $100 million to help fight Alzheimer's

"It's a miracle that people are living so much longer, but longer life expectancies alone are not enough". Malaria, HIV/AIDS, and TB have not been fully conquered, but with the most visible and energetic of the establishment philanthropists turning his sights to the disease of aging - Alzheimer's - we have forever reimagined the contours of global public health.

Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.

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Mr. Gates said he is optimistic about finding a treatment with focused and well-funded innovation. So it's very hard to hazard a guess (when an effective drug might be developed). Of all diseases, it is Alzheimer's (and, technically, other dementias), which is almost perfectly correlated with aging that has therefore turned it from a rare disease, when most of us died too young to get it, into an epidemic that is ravaging us all.

The DDF, which was launched in 2015 and involves drugmakers GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Pfizer and Biogen Idec as well as the United Kingdom government, has already invested in at least nine start-up companies investigating potential ways to stop or reverse the biological processes that lead to dementia.

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The philanthropist, whose usual focus is on infectious diseases in poorer countries, said Alzheimer's caught his interest partly for personal reasons, and partly because it has so far proved such a tough nut to crack.

In a statement, Mr Gates said men in his family have suffered from Alzheimer's, adding that he is hopeful that in time Alzheimer's could be a chronic condition treatable with medication.

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In addition to boosting research into the underlying causes of the disease, Gates identifies four other priority areas that need attention, including improving dementia diagnosis and participation in clinical trials, bringing new ideas and theories into the field, and using the power of big data to speed up research progress.

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